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How the Titans sacked the passer in 2011, part two

It’s time for part two in my little series in how the Titans sacked the passer in 2011.

As I noted yesterday, the Titans did not get to the passer either very often or very frequently, ranking 31st in the league in both categories. The Titans did have a few highlights from a pass-rushing perspective, though, but they also had three games where they didn’t record a single quarterback sack.

In part one, I covered the Titans’ sacked in the first four games. Now, it’s time to cover the second quarter of the season, beginning with the road loss in Pittsburgh and continuing on to the disappointing three-game homestand, a win against the Colts sandwiched around losses to the Texans and Bengals.

WEEK 5-AT PITTSBURGH-Ben Roethlisberger-34 attempts, 1 sack, 1 QB hit; Daniel Seuplveda-1 attempt, 0 sacks
Roethlisberger has typically held the ball forever and a day, often to the Steelers’ benefit, but one of the costs is normally taking a lot of sacks. He took a lot fewer sacks in 2011 than he did in 2010, though; the Steelers were still below-average, ranking 20th in Adjusted Sack Rate at 7.2%, but that’s the best they’ve been since Ben arrived in 2004. We saw one of the reasons why this week, as Roethlisberger did an excellent job of getting the ball out quickly and completing passes in tight windows.

2-4-PIT 47 (3Q-13:21) B.Roethlisberger sacked at PIT 43 for -4 yards (J.Casey).
Nice move by LDT Casey to beat RG Foster to the outside; not sure exactly how he did it, but Foster might have been expecting an inside move. Cooper timed this sack at 2.2 seconds, and that’s with Roethlisberger shrugging off Casey’s initial contact before going down the second effort. That’s quick pressure.

WEEK 7-VS. HOUSTON-Matt Schaub-23 attempts, 0 sacks, 2 QB hits
The Texans were a little bit worse than the Steelers in terms of taking sacks, coming out 22nd at 7.3% ASR. Of course, that’s insanely misleading; there were basically two Texans teams last year. The first, with Matt Schaub at quarterback, hardly ever got sacked (292 pass attempts, 16 sacks). The second, with T.J. Yates at quarterback, got sacked at basically Tebow-ian levels (134 pass attempts, 15 sacks). We’ll get to the game against that second Texans team in part four of this series, and there will be something to write about then.

WEEK 8-VS. INDIANAPOLIS-Curtis Painter-49 attempts, 2 sacks, 6 QB hits
The Colts were a hair better than the Texans and Steelers, coming in at a just below-average 6.9%, 18th in the league. On the season, Painter was sacked a little less frequently than Dan Orlovsky, but overall the difference between the two was nothing like what it was for the Texans (unadjusted, 6.5% v. 7.2%). Painter also scrambled six times this game, so that’s 2 sacks on 57 dropbacks. I’m not going to get into the question of why the Colts called 57 pass plays and 20 runs.

3-5-IND 18 (1Q-2:40) (Shotgun) C.Painter sacked at IND 17 for -1 yards (J.Jones).
Love the all-22 on this play. The Colts have a bunch right. Painter is concerned with Ruud and Verner blitzing; neither comes, but Brown is lined up to Painter’s left and assigned to Ruud. RT Ojinnaka’s first priority is Verner if he’s coming, Jones if he’s not (zone blitz tendency?). LDE Jones beats Ojinnaka to the outside easily. Painter tries to step up a bit as Jones is on him, but doesn’t get far.

3-11-IND 15 (2Q-10:22) (Shotgun) C.Painter sacked at IND 7 for -8 yards (K.Klug).
In case you’re wondering why LG Seth Olsen has one career start, this play is a good example of why: Klug gets him off balance and basically runs him over on the way to Painter. It’s 90% as good as that Antwan Odom sack from the Jets game in 2007 where he just ran over the right tackle on his way to Chad Pennington. My Football Outsiders colleague Ben Muth would probably point out Olsen has no punch at all, letting Klug quickly get his hands on him and shove him back and then down.

WEEK 9-VS CINCINNATI-Andy Dalton-39 attempts, 1 sack, 2 QB hits
A brief respite from the campaign against teams that were a little below-average at getting sacked, as Dalton did not go down very often. Overall, the Bengals were fourth in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate, 4.5%, just behind the Saints.

1-10-CIN 32 (1Q-1:14) A.Dalton sacked at CIN 25 for -7 yards (S.Smith).
Dalton boots right, to the 2TE side, and away from the side with the two receivers in a stack. Good coverage downfield, though. The Titans are in a four-man front and unfortunately slant to their right, away from where the boot action goes; Jones at RDE is sort of on an island, but poses Whitworth no threat. Smith at RDT initially soaks up the double-team, then looks around Jones and flushes Dalton, eventually tracking him down. This was another long sack, clocking in at 4.7 seconds.

That’s it for part two. In our next installment, we’ll start with the high of the Titans’ season from a pass-rushing perspective before moving on to another of the low points.